Hmm, you might know the answer to this... March 12, 2008 9:46 AM   Subscribe

AskMe Feature suggestion - here's some questions you might like to answer....

I loves me some AskMe, I really do. I'm subscribed to the RSS feed and everything. As mentioned here and numerous other places, the success of AskMe comes from the satisfaction that people get in answering a question, whether obscure '80s toy identifications, Mac screen configuration or the old utterly subjective relationship questions.

However. As it's one of the most high-traffic parts of the site, it gets tough to keep track of it. I've gradually pruned really high-post-rate feeds out of my RSS reader, as logging in and seeing 500 unread posts gets me down - I'm sufficiently minor OCD to feel a bit uncomfortable about just marking all read, especially with AskMe - I might just be the one person on AskMe with the perfect answer, but I might miss it.

So, here's my feature suggestion. When you log in to AskMe, there's a tab at the top called 'Questions You Might be Interested In' or something similar. This tab is populated by questions from the last week or so that are in categories you frequently answer, tags you have favourited or answered in the past, questions responded to by your contacts, or based on keywords you can specify. Like with other activity tabs, you can remove specific keywords, tags or categories from this tab (like if you just can't hack another Mac or Relationshipfilter question). There'd be a bit of reassurance for the compulsive AskMefi surfers such as myself, and the chance to get serendipitous questions that you would have otherwise missed for the more casual surfer. Whaddya think?
posted by Happy Dave to Feature Requests at 9:46 AM (89 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

Not a bad idea, though we'd have to do something novel with how we match stuff to your history. I guess we could weight stuff by category and tags in other stuff you've answered, as well as maybe weighting things more where you had a best answer in them (those tags/categories are stuff you're really interested in). Oh! And maybe throw questions from your contacts in there as well, since you already linked to them and know them.

Am I missing any other good indicators of matching/interest?
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:50 AM on March 12, 2008


If it's all Web 2.0 and folksonomic, shouldn't you get questions recommended to you based on the questions your contacts have answered/marked as favourite? :-)
posted by benzo8 at 9:53 AM on March 12, 2008


Wow, what an awesome pony this would be.

(Because I really need an excuse to spend more time around here.)
posted by rtha at 9:55 AM on March 12, 2008


I think AskMe should just know what we want, when we want it, and why.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:04 AM on March 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


Happy Dave: "This tab is populated by questions from the last week or so that are in categories you frequently answer, tags you have favourited or answered in the past, questions responded to by your contacts, or based on keywords you can specify."

You could do what I do: make an AskMe group/folder/tag in your RSS reader and add a bunch of RSS feeds for tags (like this one for "sandwich"). It'd be nice if you could have an analogous feed for questions/FPPs/callouts by your contacts. I think that (and category feeds) might be smaller, more manageable ponies for matt/pb.
posted by Plutor at 10:05 AM on March 12, 2008


Can't we just have our librarians plow through our data histories and suggest to us questions that we might be good at solving?

If anyone knows us, it should be the librarians.
posted by klangklangston at 10:07 AM on March 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


This could be pretty neat, yeah. Hmm.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:07 AM on March 12, 2008


I've wanted this for years, in some form or other. My access to the site tends to run hot and cold, so it would be very nice to see questions that I've missed while away from the site.
posted by bonehead at 10:20 AM on March 12, 2008


I'm subscribed to the RSS feed and everything.

Whats this everything thing and how can I get some?
posted by therubettes at 10:29 AM on March 12, 2008


Suggestions for tab names

* My AskMe
* Ooh me me, I know, pick me!
posted by special-k at 10:33 AM on March 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


I would totally ride this pony.
posted by cowbellemoo at 10:44 AM on March 12, 2008


I was all set to snark at yet another pony request, but I'd like this feature myself.

Some days, I am all over Metafilter, ogling the blue, groping at the green and grazing the grey with lust-filled eyes, but then a week will go by when I'm actually, you know, doing stuff, and I can't even spare a glance at my computer screen.

While I'm gone, what if someone asks the best way to deal with, say, a half-tailed neutered orange tabby cat with an upper respiratory problem, and I'm not there to step up to the plate, confident and assured, ready with my pithy response to raise the asker from the very pit of despair to dancing, carefree, among the daisies, in gleeful gratitude?

I'd never forgive myself.
posted by misha at 10:45 AM on March 12, 2008


Good idea, and there's a fantastic name for the feature that we can't use: AskMe. Because we carelessly let that become a shorthand for AskMetafilter. Who knew that this pony would come up? This is why we can't have things with cool names.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 10:47 AM on March 12, 2008


Nice idea, but implementation would be pretty hard..

maybe weighting things more where you had a best answer in them (those tags/categories are stuff you're really interested in).

I dunno.. A lot of my best answers come randomly from throw away answers on topics I'm only moderately familiar with, like this, rather than my core expertise, like this, this or this.
posted by Chuckles at 10:52 AM on March 12, 2008


This is a great idea. Way to go Happy Dave.
posted by oddman at 10:53 AM on March 12, 2008


That is a really good idea.
posted by ND¢ at 10:57 AM on March 12, 2008


There is a facebook application called Big Brain that does this. When you add the application, there is a large list of 'expertises' ranging from academic subjects, pop culture, subcultures, certain cities, etc. When someone posts a question, they can choose which expertises it relates to, and then the people with those expertises are notified when a question that pertains to their knowledge is posted.

Maybe we can build off of this?
posted by chara at 10:57 AM on March 12, 2008


Err, let me clarify.

User A: Signs up. Chooses 'baseball', 'fly fishing' and 'San Diego' as areas of expertise.
User B: Asks a question about fly fishing in San Diego.
User A: Receives notification from BigBrain about User B's question
User B: Rejoices.
posted by chara at 10:59 AM on March 12, 2008


Isn't this what tags are for? Because if there's anything AskMe needs, it's to be bigger and more complex.

It also moves the focus from the querent to the reader. AskMe isn't about you finding juicy relationship trainwrecks. It's about answering questions for people. So, if anything, it should work based on the kinds of questions where you have received Best Answers, in the interest of directing your expertise to the querent.

But yeah, web 2.0 ad revenue the nut cluster cloud of rounded corners, and all. Pass the Kool-Aid! And pop some popcorn, I my schadenfreude sense is telling me someone's life is about to become an emotional wreck soon.
posted by Eideteker at 11:02 AM on March 12, 2008


On post-view, what chara said, but angrier (for no apparent reason; it's just chic). A weighted mix between your professed areas of expertise and your best areas (because we are not always the best judges of ourselves) would be a happy compromise.
posted by Eideteker at 11:07 AM on March 12, 2008


what if someone asks the best way to deal with, say, a half-tailed neutered orange tabby cat with an upper respiratory problem

.50BMG?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:11 AM on March 12, 2008


I want.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:18 AM on March 12, 2008


I also like the idea, but as a counterpoint, I'd like to point out that one might want to weigh the consequences of implementing this pony on the general quality of AskMe. I'm having a little trouble formulating this exactly how I want to say it, so bear with me please. What I mean is, if people have the ability to tune out everything they aren't interested in, they might miss a question they would otherwise have answered incidentally, thus detracting something from the quality of AskMe. In other words, it may be the case that one of the great things about AskMe is that the sheer number of eyes seeing all those questions results in a lot of "Oh, I just happened to see the answer to that question on a billboard on the way to work this morning!" type answers.
posted by nzero at 11:22 AM on March 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


I was all set to snark at yet another pony request, but I'd like this feature myself.

Ditto. And I like chara's idea for implementation.

AskMe isn't about you finding juicy relationship trainwrecks. It's about answering questions for people.

And what about this suggestion makes you think it's not about answering questions for people? If I have a music-related question, I damn sure want certain music-related MeFites to have a crack at answering it without having to keep an eagle eye on AskMe.
posted by languagehat at 11:24 AM on March 12, 2008


what if someone asks the best way to deal with, say, a half-tailed neutered orange tabby cat with an upper respiratory problem

cat sounds obese. declaw it.
posted by Rumple at 11:30 AM on March 12, 2008


The idea of notification has been considered and rejected a couple of times. I take it that this is a little different. A filtered view. You can choose to apply that filter or not, and presumably you could choose to subscribe to the RSS feed for that view as well. But, notification isn't the main purpose, as I understand it.
posted by Chuckles at 11:31 AM on March 12, 2008


So, if anything, it should work based on the kinds of questions where you have received Best Answers, in the interest of directing your expertise to the querent.

While I think that adding "best answers" to whatever weighting system implemented would be useful, it's worth noting that what the poster marks as a "best answer" may not always be "correct", and it may not always make sense (to anyone except the poster). For instance, I had this marked as a best answer in the Brett Favre AskMe, and I have no idea why. I mean, on the one hand: yay, best answer checkmark! On the other: wha???
posted by rtha at 11:31 AM on March 12, 2008


Some days, I am all over Metafilter, ogling the blue, groping at the green and grazing the grey with lust-filled eyes...

Well, it's still a little early, but I think spring is definitely here.
posted by malocchio at 11:42 AM on March 12, 2008


if anything, it should work based on the kinds of questions where you have received Best Answers

Bad idea. "Best Answers" are, as rtha says, simply "answers that appealed to the poster at a given moment." I've seen completely erroneous ones so marked. They're good for giving people a little egoboost and nothing else.

cat sounds obese. declaw it.

Half measures won't do. I say kill it, then declaw it.
posted by languagehat at 11:49 AM on March 12, 2008


What I mean is, if people have the ability to tune out everything they aren't interested in, they might miss a question they would otherwise have answered incidentally, thus detracting something from the quality of AskMe.

Eh. Folks that want to view the question feed selectively are welcome to do so; there's no requirement or even expectation that every mefite should have to process the front page of the green in a linear and unfiltered format. We already provide tag views and tag feeds, category feeds, user feeds, etc. The front page of the green remains the canonical view, but that's about as far as that goes, and personal reading habits are whatever they may be.

There are lots and lots of folks—I'd venture it's the vast majority of logged in AskMe readers—whose primary mode of interaction with the site is either going to the front page or going to their feed reader. Some folks may read the green already only through a selective view, and that's fine but I doubt it's anything like the majority, and I doubt that implementing this would change that, even if lots of folks would use something like this part of the time.

There's a couple comments upthread already about the difference between weeks where a user can check the site every day and weeks where they look maybe once, after 500 new threads have come in. Finding a new way to expand the tools for mitigating the bluntness of that second case is more what this seems to be about, and I think it might work out pretty well and in that sense improve the site by allowing folks who want to catch up and help if they can find the things they're most interested in finding. Eh?
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:49 AM on March 12, 2008


Yes yes yes yes yes to this. If we get it, I will buy the saddle and braid its tail.
posted by numinous at 11:51 AM on March 12, 2008


So, are we going to see similar things on the blue? Posts you might like?

Although the coolness of programming this kind of recommendation system would make me salivate, I'm not sure that removing the serendipity from the system is always a good thing (on the green or the blue).

My vote is to restrict it to askme, and to make sure that it's sort of tucked away, so that it's not the first thing people click on all the time.
posted by chrisamiller at 11:52 AM on March 12, 2008


This obvious name for this is MeMe.
posted by signal at 11:54 AM on March 12, 2008 [4 favorites]


So, are we going to see similar things on the blue? Posts you might like?

You know, if it comes together on AskMe and actually works, and ports over to the blue and actually works there as well, I don't see why we wouldn't consider it. Nod to your defense of serendipity, certainly.

One point worth making here: the proposal (and the immediate neato utility) suggested here is doing this for recent posts, but a functional recommendation system would work just as well on older posts. Something like this as a personalized portal into the archives (of the blue or the green) strikes me as potentially just super nuclear fucking hot shit. The rainy-day what-to-read flipside of the "got to catch up" situation.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:57 AM on March 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


We're through the looking glass people!
posted by ND¢ at 12:07 PM on March 12, 2008


Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich!

also:

chicken chicken, chicken: chicken, chicken; chicken; chicken.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:09 PM on March 12, 2008


Yes, please! I am currently using tags + the main AskMe feed in my humongomegaginormous feed list. I would love to be able to pare it down a bit and still catch the questions I might actually be able to answer.
posted by LeeJay at 12:14 PM on March 12, 2008


I like the idea and think it would help out with the questions that haven't been answered yet too
posted by lilkeith07 at 12:15 PM on March 12, 2008


I see this as being sort of like my Tivo, where it would look at the shows that I had set to record, and it would try to find me similar programming.

Of course, I watched a couple of episodes of Will and Grace and suddenly I get two weeks of gay programming, or a season pass of Invader Zim got me months of children's shows (did no one in charge of that actually watch Invader Zim?).

Which is to say, this could be loads of fun! I would gladly welcome any kind of directed "You might know the answer to this" kind of technology, but I suspect that just basing it on tags that people sign up for might be the least prone to weirdness. (Not that there is anything wrong with the weird, I can just see it generating a lot of MeTa threads.)
posted by quin at 12:29 PM on March 12, 2008


nzero: "What I mean is, if people have the ability to tune out everything they aren't interested in, they might miss a question they would otherwise have answered incidentally, thus detracting something from the quality of AskMe."

Happy Dave: "I might just be the one person on AskMe with the perfect answer, but I might miss it."

THE PRICE OF ASKME IS ETERNAL VIGILANCE. Or so says my OCD shoulder monkey.

But yes, this is a great idea. Reminds me of StumbleUpon a bit.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:35 PM on March 12, 2008


cortex:

Yes, certainly, and I'm not arguing against the utility of it. It sounds very useful in exactly the way you point out. However, I guess what I wanted to point out was that, if given something that makes the ease-of-filtering-AskMe threshold as low as this sounds like it would, I think there would be a sharp decrease in the number of mefites who, as you say, prefer the canonical view of the front page. Less eyeballs on the front page could have a negative impact.

Speaking only for myself, I don't currently go to the trouble of filtering AskMe or even using the RSS feed. When I look at AskMe, I just browse the front page casually, and have answered (or been able to answer) several questions that were not in any of my "interests." However, given a way to filter the questions as easily as proposed (just add a few quick interest tags and bam, filter-ama), I would start using it immediately. Had this been around since the beginning, there might be questions which I posted answers to that I would not have.

Again, I'm not really arguing against this idea since, honestly, I would love to have this pony to ride. I'm just suggesting that, while the powers that be are giving plenty of thought to the impact of such a drastic change in the way people view AskMe, this line of thinking be considered.
posted by nzero at 12:39 PM on March 12, 2008


/.
posted by Dr. Curare at 12:55 PM on March 12, 2008


nzero - good points. I believe however that your concern will be balanced out by the larger numbers of casual browsers who will see questions they would otherwise never see, and, as Cortex mentioned, the potential for rainy-day browsing to let you delve a month or more back is massive.

Really pleased people like this idea, and that I'm not the only one mildly fixated with making.sure.I.see.every.question.
posted by Happy Dave at 12:57 PM on March 12, 2008


At least in regards to this idea on the blue: nearly useless for anyone who'd just check all the little boxes anyway. You know, like me. On the other hand, it'd be great—and by great I mean just super nuclear fucking hot shit—for users over on AskMe who only have one or two answers they trot out for appropriate questions. Like me.

Yeah, and I'm behind anything that makes reading the archives easier. ...Which isn't to say they're particularly difficult to browse right now, in a shotgun sort of way.
posted by carsonb at 1:15 PM on March 12, 2008


AskMe 2.0. Will it have the rounded corners?
posted by klangklangston at 1:33 PM on March 12, 2008


AskMe isn't about you finding juicy relationship trainwrecks.

Oh shit...
posted by ob at 1:39 PM on March 12, 2008

AskMe isn't about you finding juicy relationship trainwrecks.
WHAT

God damn it, I want to speak to a manager.
posted by scrump at 1:58 PM on March 12, 2008


As one who is a little obsessive about reading the green (but does not do feeds at all - they frighten and confuse me), this is a good idea.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 1:59 PM on March 12, 2008


Half measures won't do. I say kill it, then declaw it.

.50BMG does both at once. Circumcises it too. And you can use the cat goo to grease your gears for the next Critical Mass ride, or throw it at Critical Mass riders, or both.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:11 PM on March 12, 2008


WANT!
posted by sveskemus at 2:12 PM on March 12, 2008


So just to be clear: is this pony getting priority over my automatic burrito delivery button? because I asked for that, like, eons ago.
posted by shmegegge at 2:14 PM on March 12, 2008


People who enjoyed "Should I eat this cheese" also enjoyed: "Should I eat this potato", "Should I eat my cat", "I can't even get food in my mouth most days without poking myself with the fork, can you help me?" and 23 others.
posted by Wolfdog at 2:20 PM on March 12, 2008 [7 favorites]


I expected better from you, languagehat.

Circumcise, then kill, then declaw.

Sheesh.
posted by flabdablet at 3:11 PM on March 12, 2008


I will ride this pony hard and then put it away wet.
posted by deborah at 3:34 PM on March 12, 2008


Metafilter cross selling.
"If you liked this question you will probably like to listen to this music or get work in this job"

Suggested metafilter community bonding:
Other people who refreshed this page as much as you are ....
Other people who use as much emotionally charged language as you are ...
etc.
posted by jouke at 4:04 PM on March 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Terrible name for a synth-pop band : Eurotarded
posted by Afroblanco at 4:11 PM on March 12, 2008


Will there be a utility for those of us who have no areas of expertise?
posted by loiseau at 4:16 PM on March 12, 2008


flabdablet: "Circumcise, then kill, then declaw."

I say we let him go...

posted by team lowkey at 4:19 PM on March 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Metafilter cross selling.
"If you liked this question you will probably like to listen to this music or get work in this job"

Suggested metafilter community bonding:
Other people who refreshed this page as much as you are ....
Other people who use as much emotionally charged language as you are ...
etc.


Unrelated to the pony (which seems nice), but I wish there was a special weighting for comments that I need to favorite so badly that I login while at work, when I usually just browse as a guest from here. Nicely done, jouke.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:36 PM on March 12, 2008


This pony would be an innovative variation on a recommendation engine. If you guys implement it well (With panache and zest and formidable acumen? Are things on MeFi done any other way?) you should cash in the self-promotion points and see if you can get some journalistish outlet to do an article or case study.
posted by XMLicious at 4:51 PM on March 12, 2008


*gets all psyched to answer questions about the Dictators, Richard price, drunkenness and full-figured women*
posted by jonmc at 5:14 PM on March 12, 2008


Finally! I need never miss a question about Paul Weller again!
posted by scody at 5:35 PM on March 12, 2008


I guess we could weight stuff by category and tags in other stuff you've answered

Nil programming voodoo experience here, so maybe the answer isn't as opaque as it seems to me. With that in mind...

I can see how it could work reasonably well with the categories, since they're a fixed variable. But how would it pan out with freeform tags?

Case 1 (normal, but non-intersecting tags):
- User is an expert in the tags 'food', 'cooking', 'MiddleEastern', 'Greek'.
- New question is tagged 'eggplant', 'Moussaka', 'recipes' by the asker.

Case 2 (jokey tagging):
- User is an expert in the tags 'sex', 'anal'.
- New question is tagged 'buttsechs', 'OMGWTFdoIdo' by the asker.

It seems to me that, tag-wise, those questions wouldn't bleep on the respective experts' radar.
posted by CKmtl at 5:47 PM on March 12, 2008


Will there be a utility for those of us who have no areas of expertise?

Everyone is good at something.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:53 PM on March 12, 2008


This sounds like an awesome thesis for an AI grad student or potential Google employee.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:56 PM on March 12, 2008


My poor little kitten (who only weighs 5.2 lbs) will NOT be coming to any meet-ups with you people!
posted by misha at 5:58 PM on March 12, 2008


In response to CKmtl, just off the top of my head - you could analyse the 'distance' between the questions tags and the user's areas of expertise using a map of common tags from elsewhere on the site - e.g. if moussaka and Turkey have been used as tags together and Turkey and MiddleEastern have been used elsewhere then that gives a distance of 2 to the moussaka-MiddleEastern linkage. More regular appearances together would increase the linkage. Apply a fuzzy limit to this, possibly based on the number of matched questions in the last n hours so that everyone gets some stuff in their answer queue but not too much and you'd have a pretty good start.

Ideally you would build the 'areas of my expertise' data through watching users behaviour rather than asking them - having to choose tags from a giant list to indicate what I like and am good at sounds like no fun, I'd like the site to notice that I've replied in these 6 questions, favourited in these 9 and have clicked through to read these 70 and so I'm probably interested in X, Y and Z.

There's already a 'related tags' field on the page for reasonably common tags so the beginnings of the tag linking map are already there.

It'd also be useful in encouraging users to submit useful tags on their questions which would lead to the system being better at guessing what is related in future.

I think a similar system for the main site would be excellent too - I've given up the main page since I was spending too much time sifting through the stories each day - if I could subscribe to a feed that gave me 10 stories I might be interested in each day then that would be excellent.

The deadline for Google's Summer of Code is in 4 days which probably doesn't leave enough time to put together a proposal unfortunately, otherwise this would have made an excellent project for someone.
posted by koshmar at 6:31 PM on March 12, 2008


If the goal is to have MeFi make recommendations kinda like TiVo makes recommendations, I think we'd have to call it MeVo (or AskMeVo).
posted by Rock Steady at 6:52 PM on March 12, 2008


you could analyse the 'distance' between the questions tags and the user's areas of expertise using a map of common tags from elsewhere on the site

Hmm. I see.

But then there's also the problem of people using only one tag and it being a completely unique one, say 'EggplantRecipes' or 'CarProblems' or whatever. And typos, spelling mistakes, or alternate spellings.
posted by CKmtl at 7:00 PM on March 12, 2008


I prefer suggestions from people in a community I'm a member of, rather than an algorithm, just like when I buy a book. I do find the algorithm's suggestions interesting, but I'm more likely to read a suggestion made by a person. But that's just me. I also believe a bit more in serendipity than you're average bloke. Discovery seems more likely to broaden a horizon than a formula.
posted by Toekneesan at 7:02 PM on March 12, 2008


But then there's also the problem of people using only one tag and it being a completely unique one, say 'EggplantRecipes' or 'CarProblems' or whatever. And typos, spelling mistakes, or alternate spellings.

Well, that's the magic of folksonomy, right?
posted by Rock Steady at 7:03 PM on March 12, 2008


And typos, spelling mistakes...
posted by Toekneesan at 7:11 PM on March 12, 2008


*pukes & cries* Oh God, I hate that term so much. The Wikipedia article is right, “Folksonomy has little to do with taxonomy…” Pet peeve and whatnot.

But you're right Rock Steady, that's a great thing about MeFi in particular, that thorough tagging can remedy a misspelling etc. via the related words.

MeVo… how about MeFlix? MeMazon? ;^)
posted by XMLicious at 7:20 PM on March 12, 2008


Collaborative tagging could solve those cases, I suppose. But with the system as it is now, that'd only work if the poorly-tagging asker has contacts that they've both linked to and been linked by, which isn't always the case.

I think the suggestion's neat... just thinking aloud about possible glitches.
posted by CKmtl at 7:27 PM on March 12, 2008


"Everyone is good at something."

I can tape all your buns together.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:28 PM on March 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


But with the system as it is now, that'd only work if the poorly-tagging asker has contacts that they've both linked to and been linked by, which isn't always the case.

In the current system, if subsequent posters on the same topic (or a retro-tagging project) find and include the misspelled tag / synonym / alternate spelling in their own post, eventually the misspelled tag appears as a "related tag" for the proper spelling.
posted by XMLicious at 7:32 PM on March 12, 2008


Sure, I see what you mean. I wasn't thinking in terms of the rainy-day-reading aspect (where subsequent "related tags" links would clear things up), but in terms of the notify-people-who-could-answer-it-now aspect.

Say the 'EggplantRecipes' person is looking for a kickass moussaka recipe for a party this weekend. That tag getting linked up with functional "related tags" two months from now wouldn't have helped notify the MeFite with the kickassest moussaka recipe when their input was needed the most.
posted by CKmtl at 7:45 PM on March 12, 2008


*gets all psyched to answer questions about the Dictators, Richard price, drunkenness and full-figured women*

I was totally in favour of this pony until I read jonmc's compelling argument against it.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:20 PM on March 12, 2008


I love MeFi. On any other site, this sort of feature would be met with plenty of "OMG, we're being tracked! The admins are violating our privacy!"
posted by ODiV at 8:31 PM on March 12, 2008


That tag getting linked up with functional "related tags" two months from now wouldn't have helped notify the MeFite with the kickassest moussaka recipe when their input was needed the most.

Good point... it wouldn't be useful until after the related tags make it in.

Hmmm... how about having people carefully write up (and group) the tags they're interested in answering, and build related tags off of that? That might at least handle synonyms and alternative terms, and if you were really lucky you'd get a misspelling hit.

If people tag poorly, I don't know that there's much that can be done about it, from the folksonomy (blech) perspective.
posted by XMLicious at 8:34 PM on March 12, 2008


This is a natural application for the gravity model, in the manner of Tobler, W. and S. Wineburg 1971. A Cappadocian speculation. Nature 231:39-41.
posted by Rumple at 8:57 PM on March 12, 2008


Consider the tags, sure, but for real power, I'd use natural language parsing. Use the DB as a nice corpus of text and you can do all sorts of cool things.

Computational lingustics is lots of fun.

(obligatory link to xkcd)
posted by chrisamiller at 9:49 PM on March 12, 2008


Awesome idea.

The obvious corollary is to prevent people from answering questions they don't know a damn thing about.
posted by desjardins at 10:12 PM on March 12, 2008


Am I missing any other good indicators of matching/interest?

First thing that comes to mind is that this would be another way to leverage the latest feature request I've been on about lately, private (toggle-ably public, viewable on your profile) keyword tagging of pretty much anything. I think the things you took time to tag (even if limited to Ask) would give a pretty good general idea of the kids of questions you'd be interested in.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:53 PM on March 12, 2008


The obvious corollary is to prevent people from answering questions they don't know a damn thing about.

One day, the Google Police will pay a visit, and no one will ever see a large chunk of this site ever again.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:18 PM on March 12, 2008


The obvious corollary is to prevent people from answering questions they don't know a damn thing about.

Could we have "Based on your posting history, you should not answer these questions - no no no."?
posted by paduasoy at 12:35 AM on March 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Everyone is good at something.
The following posts have been tagged with NeedsARandomGuess, YourOpinionIsValuableAndInteresting, TwoSecondGoogleSearch, and TranslatingWithBabelfish:
posted by Wolfdog at 4:30 AM on March 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


I like this idea, and/but I think it should have something to do with how many posts you've favorited on a particular topic (as well?)

For example, I'm a terrible procrastinator and therefore not at all an expert on the topic, but I think I've favorited damn near every post tagged GTD, because it's something I want to learn more about.
posted by streetdreams at 7:05 AM on March 13, 2008


I love MeFi. On any other site, this sort of feature would be met with plenty of "OMG, we're being tracked! The admins are violating our privacy!"

I assume this would be opt in, no?

BTW- Another OCD AskMe RSS follower here. This would be a GREAT boon for the waaay-behind-need-to-triage days.
posted by prophetsearcher at 3:16 PM on March 15, 2008


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